Business plan: what it contains and why it is important for your business activity

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Before starting a new business, it is a good idea to draw up a business plan. In fact, a study by Oregon University, published in the Journal of Business Venturing, found that planning processes significantly reduce the chances of a business failing.

Writing a good business plan, however, is not easy: you need to be able to make accurate forecasts, define realistic objectives and have a medium-long-term vision. The advice is to rely on experts, such as the professionals at JO Consulting, who can guide you, step by step, in writing your business plan.

Table of contents

What is a business plan

The business plan is a forecasting document for entrepreneurial activities. It is often drafted to obtain financing or, in the case of established businesses, to allocate available resources and define new objectives.

What does a business plan contain

The topics within a business plan concern:

The length of the document depends on its nature, which also determines the degree of depth: an internal document will be some twenty pages long; a document for the award of funds will be (or must be) much more substantial.

The project

The project is the most “descriptive” part of a business plan; it includes the executive summary and the unique selling proposition (USP).

The executive summary

The executive summary, no longer than one page, must answer a few questions.

In a nutshell, it is the part that summarises what will later be detailed in the other sections of the document; for this reason, it is very often the section that determines an initial assessment of the entire proposed business idea.

The unique selling proposition (USP)

The unique selling proposition (USP) answers the question «what sets you apart from the competition?» and, if well designed, helps guide branding and marketing choices.

Defining the USP requires identifying competitors, global and local trends and critical success factors. 

The SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for:

SWOT analysis is a well known marketing tool that, in the form of a grid, highlights positive and negative aspects, internal and external factors.

It allows the goal to be defined through a careful examination of the socio-economic, political, environmental and demographic aspects related to the business.

The SWOT analysis, therefore, outlines the context in which the company will operate, assessing the potential for development in the target market.

The competitive analysis

Positioning concerns the analysis of competitor companies. It serves to define the elements that make the company ‘unique’. Usually, the discriminating factors are

The business strategy

Once the analysis is complete, it is necessary to draw up a business strategy, answering the questions

JO Consulting helps the customer find these answers, defining objectives and priorities, with a study of resource procurement, production, storage, promotion, distribution and sales.

Team

It is useful, especially for startups, to indicate the people involved in the business strategy, their CV and the responsibilities they will hold within the organisational chart.

Economic and financial forecasts

Each business plan contains a spreadsheet with economic and financial forecasts. Here, costs, revenues and salaries are broken down.

Unfortunately, nothing can avert the possibility of bankruptcy, but with a dedicated consulting service, such as the one offered by JO Consulting, and especially with a good profit and loss statement, the risk can be reduced.

Rely on professionals

JO Consulting, part of the JO Group cluster of companies, offers dedicated consultancy services since 1998. If you choose us, we will help you identify the steps to start your business.

If required, we will help you find subsidised finance opportunities. For more information see our JOurnal or fill in the contact form below.

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